World news – Breonna Taylor’s family to receive $16 million from settlement


The United States city of Louisville, Kentucky, will pay $US12 million ($16.44 million) to the family of Breonna Taylor to settle a to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit.

Ms Taylor, a black woman, was shot dead by police during a raid on her apartment in March, when they executed a ‘no-knock’ warrant during a drug investigation.

The settlement will be accompanied by reforms of the Louisville Metro Police Department, including a requirement that commanders approve search warrants before they are put to a judge, Mayor Greg Fischer said at a news conference, alongside Ms Taylor’s family.

« My administration is not waiting to move ahead with needed reforms to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again. »

Ms Taylor’s death sparked months of protests in Louisville and calls for the officers involved to be hit with criminal charges.

The 26-year-old, an emergency medical technician, was killed on March 13 when Louisville police forced their way into her apartment shortly after midnight using the so-called ‘no-knock’ warrant that did not require them to announce themselves.

In June, the police department fired one of the three officers involved, detective Brett Hankison, who is white, for displaying « extreme indifference to the value of human life » when he fired ten bullets into Ms Taylor’s apartment.

None of the three has been criminally charged, but the state’s Attorney-General Daniel Cameron, is expected to bring the case before a grand jury this week, according to local media reports.

Tamika Palmer, Ms Taylor’s mother, has said she is trying to be patient about the results of Mr Cameron’s criminal investigation and the long wait for any charges to be laid, six months since her daughter’s death.

In that time, her daughter’s killing — along with that of George Floyd in Minnesota and the shooting of Jacob Blake — has become a rallying cry for protesters seeking a reckoning on racial justice and police reform.

Black Americans, already reeling from a virus that disproportionately affects them, have engaged in days of protests after an African-American man’s death in police custody was caught on tape. The anger rose so quickly because there’s little hope to be found, writes Emily Olson.

High-profile celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, NBA star LeBron James, tennis player Naomi Osaka and Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton have called for the officers involved to be charged over Ms Taylor’s death.

Ms Palmer’s lawsuit accused three Louisville police officers of blindly firing into Ms Taylor’s apartment the night of the March raid, striking her several times.

Ms Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, was in the apartment with her and fired a single shot that struck an officer in the leg.

Mr Walker said he did not hear police announce themselves and said he thought he was guarding against an intruder.

The warrant was one of five issued in a wide-ranging investigation of a drug trafficking suspect who was a former boyfriend of Ms Taylor’s.

That man, Jamarcus Glover, was arrested at a different location about 16 kilometres away from Ms Taylor’s apartment on the same evening.

The city has already implemented some law reform measures, including passing a law named for Ms Taylor that bans the use of ‘no-knock’ warrants.

Police typically use them in drug cases due to concerns that evidence could be destroyed if they announce their arrival.

Mr Fischer fired former police chief Steve Conrad in June and last week named Yvette Gentry, a former deputy chief, as the new interim police chief.

Ms Gentry would be the first black woman to lead the force of about 1,200 sworn officers.

This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and the BBC World Service which is copyright and cannot be reproduced.

AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)


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